Life as we Know It (2010)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Life As We Know It

Life as we Know It takes a crack at perfecting the typical opposites-attract set-up. The one glitch is this scenario has complications – a baby. So, how does “life” transcend from screen to life as we know and live it?

Sharing mutual friends isn’t always the best thing. Holly Berenson (Katherine Heigl) is a responsible, hard working woman attending culinary school with dreams to own a bakery and catering business. Eric Messer (Josh Duhamel) is quite the opposite – he’s irrational, never one to stick around in a relationship, but has a promising career as a network sports director for major sporting events.

Their friends Pete and Alison think they would make an ideal couple and set them up for a date – a date that has “disaster” written all over before it even begins. They make it to the car arguing over which restaurant to dine at before each stomp off in the opposite direction throwing insults over their shoulders at each other and breathing sighs of relief at never having to see one another again. Little do they know how wrong they were.

There is a lot to be admired about this story – it’s endearing to say the least, but sometimes the characters are morally screwy. Speaking from narrative perspectives, it’s one of the most adorable scripts ever. Unfortunately for its audience, with every encouraging glimmer Hollywood allots for some unfortunate missteps that cloud those bits of sunshine. We like happy endings; we want to see two likable, leading characters follow their hearts at credits rolling. There's one glaring event in this film I'd like to have seen eliminated altogether, but I won't share what because of spoilers.
Life as We Know It

As the script runs towards its inevitable (albeit rooted for) ending, writers do an excellent job of balancing the sweetness of the story (such as Baby taking her first steps or saying “mama”) without letting up the challenges facing Holly and Messer. Katherine Heigl is a favorite actress, so I am partial to most her roles for that reason, and here is no different. She and Josh are quite good together; I loved their bickering as much as the romantic sparks. Josh plays the stereotype role to the hilt, and with that comes a predictable subplot involving a second love interest. Anytime there are two men falling for the leading lady, I cannot help but feel bad for the “loser,” so long as he’s a nice guy. In this case, it’s Sam (an under-used Josh Lucas). You “know” who will prevail by films close, so in that way, who cares? But on the other hand, wouldn’t it be a switch, if for once, we were fooled and they choose the more stable but just as likable guy? The triplets who play Sophie during the better part of the film are adorable. Lots of scripted moment will make you tear up, which says something in favor of the cast.

Many profound speeches and touching moments cumulate which grasp better merits from the story. All in all, I won’t deny I had have fun seeing this (and still enjoy re-watches). I don’t regret that. What is regrettable is the fact that we cannot always applaud Holly and Messer’s choices; something that while not unusual is made worse by the presence of Sophie, someone very much affected by those choices.
CONTENT: the first fifteen minutes offer dozens of references to getting “laid” or “sleeping around” [including one crude reference to male anatomy]. All the married women and one homosexual partner eye Messer throughout, finding him attractive – he’s a flirt. There are about three implications of pre-marital sex. Profanity employs watered down uses of the f-word along with one nearly inaudible “f- you.”  Rounding that out is h*ll, sh*t, da*n, a**, GD and taking Jesus’ name in vain. A character gets drunk in addition to references and one-time drug use. The film is rated PG13.


  1. I totally enjoyed this movie, probably more than I should have. I mean, I would have left a few things out, but I thought there was so many good things to be found.

    Josh Duhamel is yummy ;-) So I was happy. But I agree with you--Josh Lucas was under used.

    You've made me want to rewatch this!

  2. Thanks for the link! I haven't rewatched this movie since I saw it in theaters and reviewed it, and it left me feeling so "meh" -- which is sad since I do love Josh D. :)

  3. Ella - my thoughts exactly. I more than likely enjoyed this one more than I should have... but it was so cute, I couldn't help myself! For me, the biggest flaw was the drugs. It showed such irresponsibility on the character's parts. Nevertheless, I loved it. =D

    Yeah, I really liked Josh's character and thought that he was really sweet towards Holly; too bad writers didn't know what to do with his character...

    Ruth - you are welcome! I especially thought adding your link was great this time because you had a really different opinion... but then, I am always happy to point readers to your blog, anyway. ;D

    You are both right about Josh! He is perfect leading guy material - I've enjoyed each of his movies that I've seen. I actually just saw his newest this afternoon - and a review will hopefully (I might be optimistic here) be up tomorrow afternoon.

    Speaking of a re-watch... I am ready to see this again, too. ;D

  4. This movie looks SO cute! And as Ella can tell you--I think Josh Duhamel is D.R.E.A.M.Y! But Josh Lucas in a secondary character? Just for those two I may have to see it some day. ;)
    Great post, Rissi--and also, by the way, thank you for posting not only the great parts but the not so great parts for content issues. I really appreciate that in screening movies.

  5. It is, Meghan! I do hope you see it sometime. There are some serious flaws but the "good," cute factors kind of outweigh those. ;D

    As per usual, Josh is great in this role! His latest movie is really quite good - like I said, hopefully I'll get it posted tomorrow...

    Thank you for saying that - I have wondered in past whether or not I strike the right balance of the "good vs. bad" in a movie, so your saying that is appreciated.


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